From Kay’s Journal: Review of Journal to Health


KJournalWe have come to the end of the 30-Day Digital Journaling Challenge. The brainchild of Journalverse member and Journal to the Self certified instructor Nathan Ohren of and, the 30-Day Challenge has brought together more than 1200 writers from around the globe, each engaged for the month of October 2014 in a collective process of writing a journal on a computer, tablet, smart phone, or cloud.

My digital journal of choice is Journal to Health (JTH) , a secure online journaling site that features privacy, convenience, instant retrievability, and an odd sort of intimacy with the digital page, not unlike the feel of a paper journal. JTH’s creator is “Dr. J.” (Jackie) Swensen, a New York psychoanalyst (and Journalverse member) who says, “I call Journal to Health ‘a site for self-discovery’ because I agree with Aristotle, that ‘knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.’ Journal writing helps us know ourselves.”

I volunteered to be a beta-tester of JTH in its first release last summer. I was given a 60-day pass and the instruction to customize it to meet my tastes and use it as much I wanted. I admit to some trepidation; I’m a devoted handwriter, and I like my journal time curled up on the couch, or out on the porch, with coffee. I was secretly sure I wouldn’t be able to sustain a regular digital journal.

Dr. Jacqueline Swensen, founder, Journal to Health

Dr. Jacqueline Swensen, founder, Journal to Health

I was wrong.

Instead of failing, I fell in love.

Immediately I became enchanted by the daily quote about writing/journals/life that appears in my emailbox while I am still dreaming. When I awaken, I pour my first coffee, savor the quote (today’s: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,” by the ever-inspiring Annie Dillard), and click the link  in the email that takes me to my own JTH journal.

From there, it’s a familiar and comfy slide. I  choose my topic from a comprehensive list that includes my own categories and themes. Individualized subtopics provide another layer of detail, metaphor, context — whatever strikes my mood, write, intention, or fancy.

I click the timer in the left column, pre-set for 15 minutes (I can set it for more time, or less.) I write, mindful of time, shooting to get my personal goal of 450 words in.  When I have been writing for 15 minutes, my computer erupts in a wild burst of cheers and applause. That little five-second sound clip is my favorite addiction.

keyboardThe stylish touches of JTH — the wallpaper (background) patterns, the “paper” (writing surface), the fonts that actually do look a little bit like my own printing — all add up to the same sort of comfort and nurturing that I associate with my handwritten journal.

About halfway through my 60-day trial, I started looking for the place I could subscribe. It wasn’t available yet. I tried not to worry, but I worried. I was hooked. I didn’t want my JTH experience to disappear. Fortunately, around Day 50,  a subscription box appeared, and I instantly clicked the button for a $42.95 annual subscription. (I could have also chosen a $3.95 monthly charge.) I spend well over that in paper journals each year — why wouldn’t I gift myself with a year-long digital journal?

There’s a lot to love about Journal to Health. (Need one more? All US military veterans and families get FREE subscriptions.) You can sign up for your own 30-day free subscription HERE and see if it’s for you.

6 Responses to From Kay’s Journal: Review of Journal to Health

  1. Jackie October 30, 2014 at 10:53 am #

    What a wonderful review! It’s so great to know that you appreciate all the work that went into developing Journal to Health™. I, too, feel an “intimacy” when I’m journaling. The customization we offer is for the people, like me, who are detail oriented (maybe a little OCD?). But there’s no need to do anything but turn on your timer and start journaling after you sign up. Thank you, Kay!

    • Kathleen Adams October 31, 2014 at 6:44 am #

      I do appreciate all the work, Jackie (and I know just how much work it is!) You’ve given us a terrific cloud-based option.

  2. Nathan Ohren October 31, 2014 at 1:45 am #

    Wonderful review! May I repost this on the EasyJournaling website? We will soon be updating the app reviews on the site, and this would make a lovely addition.

    Also, I wanted to make it clear that while the 30-Day Digital Journaling Challenge was first launched in October, it is STILL ACTIVE. Anyone who wants to take the Challenge for themselves is welcome to do so at It is FREE, and a great way to explore the tips and tools of electronic journaling.

    Thank you, Kay and Dr. J. for being sponsors of this ongoing event, and for your support and input.

    • Kathleen Adams October 31, 2014 at 6:45 am #

      Sure, Nathan, post away! Thanks for pointing out that the 30-Day Challenge hasn’t gone dormant just because the first 30 days are over.

  3. Carol Roberts August 24, 2017 at 10:41 am #

    Here I am now just reading these posts in 2017. Don’t know whether I’ll take you up on this challenge or not–I’m into three separate ones at the moment: one prayer journal in the morning, one as I write along with a book I’m reading in the evening, and one as I journal along with my new classes.

    But you do (did) make this sound tempting!

    • Kay Adams August 28, 2017 at 8:42 am #

      I had to look back at the post to find out what 30-Day Challenge I’d offered! Sad to say the Journal to Health program didn’t last — really too bad because it was a fine project by a gifted practitioner.

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